2010 Mercury Milan
The Mercury Milan is all new this year – following a major redesign that overhauled almost every aspect of the car – and now offers a hybrid powertrain option designed to maximize fuel economy and assuage eco-guilt. The Milan shares its underpinnings and much of its technology with the Ford Fusion, so it should come as no surprise – considering Ford is the company to introduce the one and only SYNC – that these two cars support one of the best hybrid system displays on the market. It’s called EcoGuide, and its multicolor LCD dash is quite extraordinary – displaying an efficiency tree that sprouts virtual leaves if you’re being fuel thrifty and drops them should you mash the gas a little too frequently. This cool bit of tech highlights the remarkable improvements in the Milan’s interior. Quality has improved throughout, and the exterior features styling less aggressive than the Fusion
, but equally updated. The hybrid drivetrain itself returns a solid bump in gas mileage over the gas-powered Milan, bringing it to 41 mpg highway, an impressive feat for a mid-sized sedan.
What's to Like
Interior quality has been substantially improved over the old model; softer plastics and comfy seats make the cabin a comfortable place to pass the time. The EcoGuide and its LCD screens are attractive and its useful operations allow you to make the most of the hybrid system.
What's Not to LikeWe’re used to the wallet taking a hit thanks to the hybrid technology, but the $3,000-plus premium over a comparably speced Milan still hurts. The hybrid batteries are located in the trunk, and while there’s still plenty of room for your belongings, the rear seats aren’t able to fold down for maximum cargo space.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
As far as vehicles go, hybrids aren’t generally known for exceptional acceleration. The Milan Hybrid won’t change anyone’s expectations either, and you’ll find it a fairly sedate ride with steering being a bit on the dull side as well. However, as far as comfort and efficiency go, this Milan is a winner. The cabin is a pleasant place to be as you skim over bumps in the road and head around corners. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) makes for smooth acceleration from a stop. In fact, the electric motor alone can propel the car to 47 mph without the use of the gasoline engine, so you’ll experience a silent ride until you need to get on the gas. Regenerative brakes, which generate power to recharge the battery, aren’t grabby like those of other hybrids, and do a good job of bringing the Milan to a stop.
Engine and Drivetrain
Two power sources – a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine and a permanent magnet AC synchronous electric – drive the 2010 Milan Hybrid. Together they produce 190 horsepower and 136 lb-ft of torque. Both engines drive the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
The Milan Hybrid is loaded with Ford’s impressive arsenal of features. Next-generation, voice-activated navigation system with SYNC and SIRIUS Travel Link is worth a tick of an option box. As is the Volvo-derived Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) that uses radar waves to check for hidden objects and illuminates a warning light within the side view mirror if anything is detected. We also like the rearview mirror-integrated reverse camera (it displays on the in-dash screen if you add nav).
Key Technology Evaluation
The big news for the new Milan Hybrid is its EcoGuide digital dash system. Powered by twin LCD screens flanking either side of the speedometer, EcoGuide can be run in four different modes: Inform, Enlighten, Engage and Empower. Inform displays only the basics – fuel and battery charge levels. Enlighten adds an EV mode notification and a tachometer, and Engage takes that a step further, tagging on engine and battery output power. Empower takes this and adds power to wheels, gasoline engine cut-in and accessory power consumption, and it can get overwhelming, quickly. Stick to Enlighten or Engage if you would rather keep things simple.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
The EPA has rated the Milan Hybrid at 41 mpg city, 36 mpg highway with an AT-PZEV emissions rating, identical to the Fusion Hybrid’s numbers and far better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid’s 33 mpg city, 34 mpg highway. In addition to the hybrid system, mileage is aided by aerodynamic wheels with low rolling resistance tires, an electric air conditioning compressor and an advanced regenerative brake system.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
Without a doubt, the highlight of the Milan’s interior is the colorful EcoDash. But looking around, you’ll realize that the rest of the cabin has been improved as well. Luxurious, it is not, but the Milan now features quality materials and an ergonomically-friendly driving position. Although the batteries in the trunk don’t reduce cargo space dramatically, the handy 60/40 rear seat split isn’t an option.
Its profile may not have changed dramatically, but the changes to the exterior bring the Milan into this decade. Compared to the Fusion’s look, the Milan’s is relatively tame, clearly a deliberate attempt to woo different sets of buyers. Chrome exhaust tips and LED taillights give the Milan just a touch of bling.
Market Segment and Pricing
The Milan Hybrid starts at $28,180, nearly $1,000 more than the Fusion. Adding a few tech options will increase the price too, making it more expensive than the rest of the competition, which includes the Toyota Camry Hybrid at $26,150 and the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid at $26,225. It may be more expensive, but the Milan Hybrid does deliver better fuel economy than those two, and that could make all the difference in the long run.
What We Think
With an array of advanced technology features and a subtle exterior design, the Milan Hybrid brings a level of sophistication to the hybrid game, and its fantastic gas mileage makes it a leader among the competition. The higher pricing, however, may make buyers think twice when comparing it to the Fusion.